Friday, 28 June 2013

Photos Of The Taste Of London Food And Wine Festival

Fluid London’s culinary explorer, Baldwin Ho tackles the Taste London food and drink festival. 

It’s that time of the year again, and I was sent to visit the “Glastonbury” of food festivals, Taste London; in particular, to attend some masterclasses to brush up on those all important food and wine knowledge.

If there is such thing as foodie heaven, it was definitely in Regent’s Park that day. I attended a sushi and wine tasting masterclass with Celebrity Cruises and a mozzarella masterclass with Obikà.

Do kids get spoilt these days? Most definitely – with sushi lollipops! And these ones had crushed doritos on them. It was one of my highlights of Taste London.

Service with a smile and friendly banter with the “passengers on board”.

There’s a high probability our next holiday might involve a cruise in the Greek Islands. Gone are the days of stuffy old fashioned cruises, nowadays it’s modern, sexy, luxurious cruises on board Celebrity cruises.

A summer festival, just isn’t a summer festival without a glass of rosé (or four glasses!)

The colourful sushi lollipops, it’s enough to bring out the big kid in anyone. Don’t ask me where you can find them in London though; you just have to go on a Celebrity Cruise.

I have a feeling the waiter in the middle secretly wants to take the whole tray home for dinner. I cant blame him.

I too had trouble sorting out the pesky Rubik’s cube. It was clearly fashionable before my time.

The best way to cure seasickness – definitely have a few glasses of red wine. However, we did work out during the course of our wine tasting; red wine really doesn’t go with tuna sushi.

White, red or rosé? The wine never stops flowing when you are at Taste London or on board a Celebrity Cruise.

Next stop in our voyage was to visit the Obikà tent and try their delicious canapés, prosciutto de Parma, olives, mozzarella. Yum!

Here the manager is trying to show us the difference between Obikà and Tesco mozzarella. Can you work which is which? A helpful hint: the best looking one might not be the best tasting one.

Just to avoid any confusion, the one that looks like a snowball is not; I repeat not an Obikà product. Sadly I don’t think I can ever go back to buying mozzarella from Tesco again after this little masterclass.

In summary, there was great food, great wine and also great company. Now my thoughts are on when I can book that relaxing Celebrity Cruise.

Friday, 21 June 2013

A Feast of Forgotten Foods: How London Embraces New Flavours with Long Lost Local Produce

The forgotten foods of the UK’s produce industry, as eaten by Nina Koo-Seen-Lin.

A dinner party using leftovers in association with Slow Food? Yes, I felt a bit queasy when I read that on the press release too and developed a phantom faint taste of mouldy cheese lingering at the back of my tongue. However, reading the whole invitation to The New Flavours with Forgotten Foods Menu for Slow Food Week, and discovering this dinner party would be held at The Dock Kitchen, I knew this was an event worth attending.

My hosts were Catherine Gazzoli, CEO of Slow Food UK, and her two gorgeous colleagues, Katharina and Nathalie, two ladies from Germany with a love for British produce. They explained the ethos of Slow Food UK and I discovered by ‘leftovers’ they meant ‘long lost’ food made by small, local, artisan producers.

Slow Food is the leading organisation committed to spreading the good, clean and fair food message. Their aim: to promote local food heritage and discourage people from consuming fast food. Catherine informs me that people in the UK have lost the connection with keeping things local. As a nation, Britain is out of touch with the food, the land, and the people who produce it.

Slow Food Week, held from 1st-9th June, was devoted to good, fresh and guilt-free eating. Leading chefs and members of the Slow Food Chef Alliance - including Richard Corrigan, Giorgio Locatelli and Angela Hartnett - showed their support for the movement with menus fit for a sustainable conscious king.

The New Flavours with Forgotten Foods Menu for Slow Food Week was created by Stevie Parle and Anna Hansen. The Forgotten Foods programme collected small-scale quality produce from around the UK and Anna Hansen created a menu that helped diners rediscover long lost ingredients.

The evening’s menu showcased no less than 10 Forgotten Foods, including Jersey black butter from La Mare Wine Estate, Morecambe Bay shrimps from Furness Fish and Game, and English Lop pork presented three ways on the plate (braised, stuffed and crackled).

The memory of each and every ingredient used in the dishes will remain on my taste palate forever. The beremeal flatbread starter with raw milk salted butter yoghurt; the Eikorn oatcakes with Jersey Black Butter; saffron cake with cider brandy ice cream; all were delectable.

I doubt I will eat a meal so full of flavour; until the next Slow Food Week in 2014, that is. What could possibly top the Lop and Jersey Black Butter, I don’t know. But I’m willing to wait a year to find out.

The Menu

Nyetimber with fresh watermelon

Beremeal flatbreads, raw milk salted yoghurt, borage flowers and sumac

Elderflowers, borage and sage, deep fried with argan oil and amalfi lemon

Raw chopped Devon red ruby beef fillet, sour cherries and pickled Jersey Royals

Morecambe Bay shrimp, raw spring vegetables, hazelnuts, hazelnut and anchovy salad

English Lop pork shoulder braised in Three Counties Perry and loin stuffed with bay and juniper and crispy skin with beetroot pilaf, fattoush salad and seasoned yoghurt

Caerphilly and Appleby’s Cheshire with Einkorn oatcakes and Jersey Black Butter

Saffron cake, summer fruit and Julian Temperley Somerset Cider Brandy ice cream

Slow Food UK would like to thank the following suppliers for supporting the evening’s dinner

Doves Farm for Einkorn flour and beremeal

La Mare Wine Estate for Jersey Black Butter

Furness Fish and Game for Morecambe Bay Shrimps

Oliver Cider and Perry for the Three Countries Perry

Somerset Cider Brandy Company for the Cider Brandy

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Photo Images Of 12 Hot New Restaurants In London

A Fluid London pictorial of the 12 hottest new restaurants in London that look just as good as they taste (hopefully), as discovered by Christian Rose-Day.

Dining in London isn’t simply about a restaurant’s choice and quality of cuisine. The ambiance, the ingredients, the location, the lighting, the decor, the service, the price, the type of hand soap in the toilets and 10,000 other criteria all combine to provide London’s citizens a fair assessment of whether they love or loathe it.

And yet when deciding where to go and what to do in London, diners tend to make their first assumptions purely on the basis of looks. If it’s a sexy restaurant, we’re buying. If it looks like the offspring of a Little Chef, we’ll be taking our lust for 3 course meals and a bottle of red (3rd wine down from the top of the wine list) elsewhere.

Eyes at the ready, because here are 12 new London restaurants worth ogling.

The recent redevelopment of the Kings Cross area will see it soon challenging the likes of Shoreditch, Soho and Fitzrovia for the prize of most exciting district for drinking and dining in London. The arrival of Bruno Loubet’s new Grain Store restaurant (pictured below) has certainly reinforced this idea, especially as it boasts alfresco dining next to the canal, and an ‘exploded’ kitchen interior design.

As if Shoreditch and Hoxton needed to get any cooler; Beagle bar, restaurant and coffee shop (pictured below) has other ideas though. Set beneath three renovated railway arches, Beagle clearly plays up to its industrial provenance.

If you haven’t heard by now already, Peruvian cuisine is hot right now in London, and new Mayfair restaurant, Coya (pictured below), takes the spirit of Latin America (antique Peruvian furniture and traditional Josper oven) and plonks it right into the middle of London’s most affluent and luxurious suburb.

At the other end of the scale is the good old fashioned diner, nicked from our cousins across the pond and, in this instance, set up as Hot Pink (pictured below), the simple, straightforward, no messin’ style new restaurant in Wimbledon. The wood interior has a retro vibe thanks to some 20th century pop culture paraphernalia dotted throughout.

Hutong (pictured below), the new London restaurant near the river serving Northern Chinese cuisine, has a touch of Chinese authenticity in its use of intricate patterns and lattice work on wood. But the interior, on this occasion, is not the main reason to visit; and nor is the Chinese food. The fact that Hutong is 33 levels above London Bridge station in The Shard is its biggest draw.

Not content with just one restaurant on Mayfair’s Pollen Street, Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton is now attempting to take over the whole block with his new French bistro Little Social (pictured below) across the road from his Pollen Street Social restaurant.

We’ve all heard of The Savoy Hotel on the Strand, with its award-winning cocktail bars and Gordon Ramsay residency, and now we all need to learn about the new Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill (pictured below), which boasts panoramic views of the River Thames and 1920s Art Deco splendour, with an oyster bar claiming centre stage.

For the indecisive diner or drinker (both?) comes the new restaurant concept Kitchen Party in Clerkenwell (pictured below), which provides four separate pop-ups under one roof, all on a constant rotation so you will never get bored. Fans of Fitzrovia’s Borne and Hollingsworth will want to take note.

Not to be outshone by its neighbour restaurant Hutong, Oblix restaurant (pictured below) has also taken up residence in London’s tallest man-made structure, The Shard, recently. At this new restaurant, Rainer Becker (he of Zuma, Roka and Shochu Lounge) is at the helm. Check out that view!

The new Panino Giusto Italian restaurant in Bank (pictured below) has an understated, bright, airy feel to its interior thanks to large windows and high ceilings. The traditional Milanese methods of cooking and Italian produce do most of the talking here.

Bringing a little slice of the New York bar and restaurant scene to west London, Crown Group Hospitality presents Red House in Chelsea (pictured below), its first UK venture (after succeeding with The Lion, Crown Bill's Food and Drink in NYC). Deep tufted banquettes, art filled walls and a skylight give this former pub a new twist.

And finally, going out for a local Chinese need no longer prove a tasteless affair, as long as you live in Wandsworth. Located next to Wandsworth Common, The Good Earth (pictured below) has hints of the right kinds of retro that we enjoy seeing in London these days.

If you’re still not satisfied, there are still more new restaurants in London to get excited about.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

We Will Drink Them On The Beaches! German Beers In London

We send Jon Falcone to uncover the crafty German beers invading London.

Whilst the bold and the beautiful may be all about the American IPAs and craft ales, and CAMRA members like their ales dark and twiggy, the German pilsner has, of late, become a rather unfashionable offering. It’s in part sullied by the ongoing popularity of faux German beer halls for the post-work booze-binge crowd.

Also, the perception of Becks continues to move (unfairly) into the Fosters/Carlsberg ‘pissy’ category. With all this going on it’s easy to forget that the brewing process for the golden lagers many of us enjoy today was born in Germany. This is something Alistair Hook, Meantime Brewery’s founder and brewmaster, has never forgotten.

Alistair spent years in Bavaria developing his skills and exploring the world of Pilsners, Weisse beers (white beers), Hefeweizens (wheat beers) and all things German and golden. With a love of this lager style, the ever pioneering Meantime Brewery have just released a seasonal Friesian Pilsener.

Available for the next two months, the Friesian Pilsener uses pilsener malt and Perle hops in a Northern German style brew. The result is a crisp, refreshing pilsener with a lovely, slightly bitter, aftertaste. It‘s easy to drink and with the bitterness (which comes from the North German brewing style) it works wonderfully when paired with bold food flavours like red meat, cheese, and fish.

At 5.2%, it’s a strong pilsener and with Meantime’s ongoing focus on quality, attention to detail and heritage, it delivers in taste. So much so that it inspired us to have a look at a few more other London offerings, to see which other brewers were paying respect to the German brewing process. Below are just a few of our favourite findings that can sit with the Meantime Friesian Pilsener as examples of fine German-styled brewing:

London Fields – 3 Weiss Monkeys (5.5%): This London Fields seasonal literally mashes up the IPA style with a German Hefeweizen. It mixes the citrus of a wheat beer with the depth in texture of an IPA.

Camden Brewery – Camden Wheat (5%): In neighbouring Camden, they too have a Hefeweizen. This one’s slightly weaker and focuses on softer, sugary flavours such as banana and vanilla.

The Lamb Brewery – Hefeweizen (5.2%): A Chiswick based offering, the Lamb Brewers’ Hefeweizen is cloudy with a honey flavour and a hint of cloves.

Zero Degrees – Wheat Ale (4.2%): This restaurant and micro-brewery small chain has a Blackheath premises, and offers a German styled hefe-weizen that goes for the classic vanilla and banana pairing.

The Meantime Brewery Friesian Pilsner is available at the Old Brewery and other selected outlets for a limited period.

For more of London’s best bars and pubs for beer supplies, follow this link

Thursday, 6 June 2013

5 More New (or reopened or soon-to-open) Rooftop Bars In London

As the sun begins to douse London in happiness, Sophie Kelk investigates how we can all get a little bit closer to it. 

Summer is (finally!) here and where else to take advantage of every minute of that warming sunshine and our city’s fantastic views than on a rooftop bar? Here are the five newest additions to test out… Just get there quick, before the weather changes again!

Gaucho’s restaurant in Canary Wharf has just launched a pop-up pink rooftop beach bar (pictured below and above). Think deck chairs, pink cocktails, chilled beats and fantastic views for that beach club vibe. It’s only open until the 18th June, though, so go soon if you don’t want to miss out.

Coppa bar and BBQ (pictured below) on the rooftop of Emigré Studios, is brought to us by the team behind Lardo. With space for 200 people, (make sure you bring ALL your friends) it’s one of the biggest open-air dining rooms in London and with antipasti, fritte and BBQ, the focus of this rooftop bar is clearly on the food.

Frank’s rooftop bar and café (pictured below) has become an annual institution for Peckham and it’ll be back again from the 30th June. If you’re able to find your way up the car park to the bar, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of London, a wide selection of Campari cocktails and a menu full of yummy apertivo-style food. If you’ve not been before, it’s worth the trip south of the river.

Dalston Roof Park (pictured below) is an elite members-only East London bar full of that arty crowd. What do you get for the £3 annual membership fee? Access to a cool venue with a load of fun events; art installations, cinema nights, al fresco food are just the start.

Another recently opened east London rooftop bar, the premise of Hot Tub Cinema (below), doesn’t take much explaining. Book tickets in advance to enjoy a film from the comfort of your very own hot tub (well, really shared with seven mates). It’s open Thursdays to Sundays and June kicks off with two weeks of ‘Best of British’ films.

Still not satisfied? Well luckily, London still has plenty more roof gardens and terraces to enjoy.

Hot Tub Cinema images courtesy of Todd Pacey. Gaucho images courtesy of Sophie Kelk

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The Search For The Best Fondue In London: Part Deux

Self-confessed cheese-aholic Imogen Rowland continues her gooey quest.

After a pleasant but tame initial fondue experience at Bedford and Strand, I was beginning to lose hope. Perhaps that evasive golden gloop was the stuff only of ski-season fables. And, as someone who never learnt how to stop while skiing -even when forming the perfect snow-plough stance I still just careered hopelessly downward - I feared that I might never reach that yellow nirvana of the perfect cheese fondue.

Then, I found L’Art du Fromage. Trust Chelsea to come up with the goods. Purveyor Julien sat us down with a knowing smile. He gave us the menus, but we both understood it was an empty gesture, unnecessary for the case in hand. In my very best French (accent), I told him: ‘Bringonzefromage, tout de suite!’.

He looked a bit confused, but seemed to understand.

And, well. How to put it? The fondue Savoyarde – a heady combination of Emmental, Comte and Beaufort flambéed in Kirsch in front of our eyes ­­– was the stuff of dreams (and subsequent cheese-fuelled nightmares, in the best possible way).

It was thick, gooey and bubbling, stretching in glossy elastic strands as we bravely wrestled it towards our mouths. It was bottomless, both in the sense that we failed to finish it (and we were serious fans on serious business) and that, had we managed it, it would have been refilled at our request. Yes, it’s a health-freak’s nemesis but – oh, my – it was divine.

Our fellow diners were equally enthralled – one table with steak fondue gurgling proudly, the others scraping raclette urgently from their table-top grill.

My only concern is this: did we peak too soon? What is to become of my fondue-fuelled quest, if it has already reached this level of exper-cheese (sorry)?

Find out next time…